reflections of a developing professional
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Values-led Education



I was reflecting today on a question posed to me via Twitter.

“What are the values that guide your leadership?”

For me, this is a question that I have been – subconsciously, at least – pondering for some time. When thinking about the challenges and changes that I have faced, oftentimes I have come back to these same touchstone values as the pointers that have guided my journey.

Excellence - I feel this value deep into my bones and I have for as long as I can remember. Excellence to me does not necessarily mean being ‘the best’ at something but more it is the goal for all of my actions. I want to work towards excellence in everything that I do as a teacher. I want my students to feel that I am working hard to facilitate their achievement of their own personal brand of excellence. In my leadership, I want others to work with me in reaching towards excellence in everything that they do – from a phone conversation with a parent, to a presentation in front of the school executive.

Growth - Life is one long journey of learning. Personal and professional growth are constants in my day-to-day actions. I see failure as a growth opportunity and have used the feedback of less than successful times in my life to begin a new cycle of growth and development. In teams, growth is a value that allows risks to be taken and for lessons to be learned.

Positivity. This value is a new one for me. I have been greatly influenced by the power of taking a positive outlook in all situations recently. Closely tied to growth, positivity allows me to wear the knocks of life and to move onward. As a leader, I use this value to help stay motivated in the face of challenge and to motivate my teams when the going gets tough.

Compassion - to be a more valuable man. To recognize that the world is not perfect and it is filled with imperfect people, most trying their best with what they have. I recognize the great fortune that I have by being born white, male and Australian. I work tirelessly with my students and with my staff to ensure that we are always utilizing our opportunity to improve the lives of others.


Hand-y way to remember Unit Circle exact values

Confused, much?

Confused, much?

I was recently working with a Year 10 Mathematical Methods student, in preparation for the upcoming exams. She couldn’t remember the exact values of the Unit Circle angles, so I showed her a handy method of remembering. She was impressed (aw, shucks!), so I thought I’d share it here!

Step 1:

Label the thumb of your left hand “SINE”, your index finger “30”, your middle finger “45”, your ring finger “60” and your pinky “COS”. Draw a vinculum with the number 2 as the denominator on your palm. Or, draw divided by 2 on your palm – whichever works! :)

See below:

Marked Hand


Step 2:

Step 2 requires some imagination. I want you to imagine that there is a magic square root symbol floating in the air above your fingertips. Can you see it?

Magic Root


Step 3:

If you would like to know what the exact value of, say, Sine 30 degrees, fold down the finger with “30” on it. Like this:


The Magic Root symbol goes over the digit left standing on the Sine side of the hand – in this case the thumb. The root of one (or just one), divided by two – the exact value of Sine 30 is one-half!

Can you also see how the Cosine of 30 can be found?

Below I have lowered the “45” digit – the Sine and Cosine of 45 both equal to root two divided by two! It’s magic!




This little memory trick has worked wonders for  me over the past few years, particularly with students who have found surds and fractions to be a frightening mix. I have taught this to students in Year 10, who have found it an invaluable tool in their understanding of the Unit Circle.


Here’s a challenge for you or your students. How can we include the exact values for the Tangent into this? :)